ACE Marine Images Advanced Underwater Film-Maker Course
The ACE Marine Images Advanced Underwater Film-Maker course is an SSI (Scuba Schools International) approved course, on successful completion of the course you will receive a specialty SSI certification. This globally recognised underwater video course was written and developed by ACE Marine Images in conjunction with SSI and is the result of over 12 years of underwater filming experience around the world at the highest level working alongside some of the best in the broadcast industry! SSI allows the course to be flexible, in other words we will adapt the course, day by day, depending on your individual skill level and progress, based on both camera skills and diving ability. This ensures that every student gains maximum input and is also the reason why we limit numbers to a maximum of 2 students per course.
The underwater video course begins with two or three half day sessions (depending on your progress) of on-land photography instruction, with a strong focus on composition and developing the eye, and instruction on above water video camera techniques; then 8 dives with a camera on some of Koh Tao's best dive sites.
We believe strongly that a good camera operator must be capable of capturing appealing, strong, technically correct images and not rely on postproduction, hence we introduce editing at the end of the course when you will have the chance to produce a film from your final 2 dives using Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premier, 2 of the industry standards. This is the downfall of many amateur courses we have seen where the focus is on postproduction, not on underwater skill development. Good images are the result of skill, natural and learned ability, and dedication at the moment you press record, not from being a computer whiz kid.
All 8 dives are done with an accomplished ACE buddy who will fill the roles of teacher, dive leader and model.¬† The first two dives are used to gauge the student's buoyancy and general diving ability with a video camera, and to assist them if needed in improving these rudimentary skills. It is very important that you are able to control your buoyancy using only your breathing and fining movements, don't forget your hands are now holding a camera; many of our students are divemasters and instructors who believe they have perfect buoyancy until they try to master our techniques!
ACE Marine Images pays particular attention to safety and second to having zero impact on the marine environment! We don't damage the coral and we don't chase whale sharks at ACE Marine Images!
Dives 3,4,5 and 6 (2 dives per day) are then spent teaching you in-water filming techniques, pans, reveals, fly-overs and many more; how to make best use of the available light, how to approach and film certain types of marine life and to perfect your angles and generally helping you to develop the skill basis necessary to become an excellent underwater cameraman or woman.¬† The footage from each day's diving is reviewed post dive and feedback, both good and bad, is given to the student, we believe in constructive criticism, not just positive reinforcement. This way we can carefully monitor your progress and adapt the focus of the course accordingly, some skills will require extra instruction or clarification and every one of us is different.
Dives 7 and 8 of the underwater video course are your chance to shine. This is where you take everything you have learnt during the course and film enough exceptional footage to use in the final session of the course, editing. This session is brief, usually one afternoon, and is used to give you an idea of how we use our postproduction software, Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere. After this session you will receive your completed 15-20 minute DVD, nicely edited with a music soundtrack and some graphics. It is at this point where you'll also receive your certification card and, if you decide to, move on to your internship.
Underwater Video Course requirements
All video equipment and diving equipment is provided and included in the course price; we do recommend those of you looking at taking it further have your own dive gear as familiarity is key.
The course can be undertaken by Open Water Divers but we strongly recommend that you complete the Advanced Open Water Diver Course or equivalent prior to taking the ACE Marine Images Underwater Film-Maker Course as we feel that will put you in a better position to gain more from us; furthermore we advise you to complete the Rescue Diver Course as safety is our primary concern. Should you wish to take your Advanced Open Water certification or Rescue Diver Course prior to joining us, we will be happy to make those arrangements for you. ACE Marine Images only operate with the very best and most professional dive centers and resorts who continuously maintain our high level of safety standards!
ACE Marine Images alone, is able to incorporate the SSI Independent Diver Course (solo diver) into the underwater video training dives should you wish. Nitrox is also available upon request. Details available by contacting us!
New Experience ACE Marine Images Courses
We are now offering new reduced underwater video courses for those of you with limited time that wish to get a taste for the underwater video experience. We do not recommend these courses as a substitute as the original 8 dive course has been carefully produced to gain the maximum knowledge in the minimum number of dives. That has proven over years of teaching experience to be the optimum that we feel are necessary in order to reach the standard on which one can continue to develop their own skills. Please note that these New Experience ACE Marine Images Courses will not result in certification until completion of the 8 dive Advanced Underwater Filmmaker Course.
Both these courses include the same outline as the Advanced Underwater Filmmaker Course but have a reduced number of dives and days involved!
Advanced Underwater Filmmaker - 8 dives - 35,000 Baht
New Experience Course A - 4 dives - 19,000 Baht
New Experience Course B - 2 dives - 12,000 Baht
Testimonials from previous video students
"I started my Underwater Videography career with ACE way back in 2000 when they were the only video outfit on Koh Tao. Koh Tao is a great place to learn with plenty of students to film as well as the coral, the fish, and if you are lucky, then maybe a whale shark!
"My Video Course at ACE Marine was very diverse. The best thing for me was the layout: very practical and useful tips in the beginning with very personal teaching, followed by a internship-like learning phase with a mix of tips and finding my own way. Even today being a UW photographer, I still think was a very useful course to take."
Serge Abourjeily - Bastianos Lembeh Diving Resort : Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesi
"My experience with ACE was good fun, working with them for different dive shops creating underwater movies for customers. The atmosphere at ACE was always friendly and creative. Good times."
"I trained as an underwater videographer at ACE in 2001 back before the times of HD and computer editing, running around barefoot, wet and with the ever present possibility of electrocution from VHS video machines and minidisc players all while trying to live mix and edit the video of a mornings dive at Chumphon Pinnacle, to crowd of expectant divers, and the fantastic buzz of recounting what had been seen on those dives, and that was just a part of the training experience. Chris and the others at ACE were great teachers on all aspects of UW film and photography and really set themselves apart from the competition. They really worked hard at perfecting UW filmmaking techniques, with shot composition and constantly experimenting with new ideas in filming and editing, which of course benefited anyone learning on the course. I had the great opportunity of also working as a member of the ACE UW Videography team, and then worked on a documentary of a road trip through India among many other projects. All in all, I gained lots of valuable knowledge, had many amazing experiences, lots of unforgettable memories and made great friends. Cheers ACE, keep it real."
Tobias 'Mr Big' Melunsky
"Ten years ago I made my first underwater clip with ACE Marine Images. That was my introduction to the film and TV Industry. Chris and Andy with a "go out and do it" attitude drove me to press with my career in this hard and demanding but rewarding industry. After all this time I develop number of short movies and was part of several TV and Film production thanks to a good start on a small island."
Oren Harel, Professional Freelance Underwater camera operator, New Zealand
"I had a wicked time on the ACE marine images Video course..! I met some great people over there and had some of the best diving experiences of my life..! From learning to film bull sharks at Chumphon, sea snakes at White Rock, turtles at¬†Red Rock and even the annoying trigger fish at Green Rock...! I am already a diving instructor and I have to say this was the best decision I ever made to turn into an underwater cameraman...! From the start of the course until the end of my internship Andy and Chris were more than helpful, when I¬†needed advice they were there and whenever I needed any help with anything they would be the first to¬†offer, so that was great knowing somebody was there to help you out with anything from editing¬†and filming techniques, what computers are best for the job¬†to¬†even¬†helping you find a bike or a place to stay...! From what I learnt on the course I feel more than capable of being able to film in any¬†water, in any conditions and with any subject..!
"Hi, my name is Silke de Vos, I am German national, born 1969. I gave up a successful career in information technology in Europe to become a dive instructor and resort owner in the Philippines. During my instructor training in 2005 on Koh Tao, Thailand, I came in contact with some experienced cinematographers at ACE Marine Images, who taught me the tricks of the trade.
Silke de Vos
"Having just finished my OW course- watching the underwater video of our mornings dives, I knew straight away that that was what I wanted to do. I finally got the chance with ACE in 2001. Over the next couple of years filming daily videos and other ACE projects, I gained a lot experience and knowledge, including the transition from manual editing with VCR (will never miss it) to computer editing. And had lots of fun in the process. Thank you! This is one thing that I will always continue to do. The only way of diving is with your camera buddy!!"
Flavia Mecenero Lebon